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The physics of protoplanetesimal dust agglomerates. VII The low-velocity collision behavior of large dust agglomerates

By Rainer Schräpler, Jürgen Blum, Alexander Seizinger and Wilhelm Kley


We performed micro-gravity collision experiments in our laboratory drop-tower using 5-cm-sized dust agglomerates with volume filling factors of 0.3 and 0.4, respectively. This work is an extension of our previous experiments reported in Beitz et al. (2011) to aggregates of more than one order of magnitude higher masses. The dust aggregates consisted of micrometer-sized silica particles and were macroscopically homogeneous. We measured the coefficient of restitution for collision velocities ranging from 1 cm/s to 0.5 m/s, and determined the fragmentation velocity. For low velocities, the coefficient of restitution decreases with increasing impact velocity, in contrast to findings by Beitz et al. (2011). At higher velocities, the value of the coefficient of restitution becomes constant, before the aggregates break at the onset of fragmentation. We interpret the qualitative change in the coefficient of restitution as the transition from a solid-body-dominated to a granular-medium-dominated behavior. We complement our experiments by molecular dynamics simulations of porous aggregates and obtain a reasonable match to the experimental data. We discuss the importance of our experiments for protoplanetary disks, debris disks, and planetary rings. The work is an extensional study to previous work of our group and gives a new insight in the velocity dependency of the coefficient of restitution due to improved measurements, better statistics and a theoretical approach

Topics: Astrophysics - Earth and Planetary Astrophysics
Year: 2012
DOI identifier: 10.1088/0004-637X
OAI identifier:

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